Some years ago I purchased a "Buddistick" portable antenna. I have used this with some success but have always found it a little limited and quite difficult to tune.
Looking for an alternative I came across the "Pro-Whip" antennas.
These are basically fibreglass fishing poles with a wire running inside. There is an unun at the base and a single counterpoise wire.
There is a range of pro-whips with 6, 8 and 10 metres lengths available.
Since this was to be used as an occasional, portable antenna I chose the 6 metre version complete with alloy stand and bungees to attach the pole to the stand.
What's in the box?
Showing left to right the plastic carry tube, the pro whip pole (telescoped down) with the antenna wire, alloy stand, unun (balun) and the counterpoise wire.
After a couple of tries I can now deploy the antenna in well under five minutes. It takes a little longer to take it down and pack away but it is still a very easy unit to set up and take down.
The stand and bungees hold the whip in place well, the whip itself is very lightweight so I wouldn't be too happy to leave it up in high winds.
My 6 metre version is said to be resonant on 20 metres.
Using the internal ATU on my old Kenwood TS450S I was able to tune the whip on all bands from 80-10 metres. I also ran the whip on 6 metres using my Yaesu FT857, I found an ATU was not required on 6.
The antenna is advertised as covering 160-6 metres. Even using an external ATU I could not tune mine on 160. This is no great loss as the antenna would be very inefficient on that band anyway. I have had QSOs with it on 40 metres, it certainly seems lively on the higher bands. I found the whip tuned easily on 80 and seemed to receive ok but I haven't really used it on 80 yet.
This is not a miracle antenna by any means. It is simply a wire vertical. It is however conveniently packaged and reasnably priced. It needs an atu on most bands but is easy to tune and within the range of the auto ATUs in both my Ft1000mp and TS450s. It appears more effective on both receive and transmit , certainly more so than the buddistick vertical, not surprising as it is substantially longer. In a comparison to the Western HF 10 doublet antenna at my QTH it was several S points down on all bands. The difference was more noticeable on the lower bands of course.
I first set this antenna up at the YL's QTH on a modern housing estate. Immediately I noticed the high noise level (on 40 metres and below in particular) in fact 80 metres was rendered unsuable. At my own, older and less built up QTH however all noise levels were relatively low so obviously placement of the antenna can really affect its performance.
The pros of the Prowhip
Easy to set up and dismantle
Relatively easy to tune
For a portable antenna its performance is quite acceptable
when its up it is fairly low profile
The Carry tube with the antenna and accessories measures just over 4 feet in length or 130cms so not the smallest of packages. This may be an issue when holidaying and boot space is limited for radio items!
Pro whip carry tube on left, Buddistick carry case on right
Overall I am quite impressed with this little antenna. It would of course be possible to "Home Brew" a copy but I am not sure much would be saved once you had assembled all of the relevant parts. I am looking forward to using the Pro-Whip portable over the summer.